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DougMacG
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« Reply #1200 on: January 04, 2012, 12:50:00 PM »

Great video.  Around here they say the best thing to come out of Iowa is Interstate 35.

The unemployment rate in Iowa is 5.7%, not exactly typical of the national economic problems.
http://www.iowaworkforce.org/news/XcNewsPlus.asp?cmd=view&articleid=81

US News says Des Moines is the richest metro, adjusted for a low cost of living: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/06/01/10-cities-with-the-highest-and-lowest-real-incomes?PageNr=1

On Iowans minds this morning isn't the caucus result, but the basketball team visiting MN with a chance for back to back road wins after beating no.11 Wisc. over the weekend.
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ccp
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« Reply #1201 on: January 04, 2012, 01:02:06 PM »

Decades ago while driving across country towards Colorado and eventually to Phoenix with a friend and his parents I remember stopping at a gas station somewhere in rural Iowa off interstate 80.

My friend's father (remember we are all from NJ) trying to be pleasant with small talk said to the gas attendant,

"You have some really nice country out here!"

The attendant's response was kind of curt, to the point, and corrective,

"yeah, if you like looking at corn!".

I remember stepping out of the car and in every single direction as far as the eye could see were endless rows of corn stalks.

For some reason I never forgot that moment. 

My friend's father did not say another word.

And that is my only memory of Iowa.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1202 on: January 04, 2012, 09:44:23 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrZtlnsBq_Y&feature=youtu.be
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bigdog
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« Reply #1203 on: January 05, 2012, 06:40:48 AM »

http://thehill.com/video/campaign/202435-pro-gingrich-pac-recycles-mccain-ad-attacking-romney
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1204 on: January 05, 2012, 07:22:30 AM »

OUCH!!!  cheesy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1205 on: January 06, 2012, 10:50:08 AM »

Dick Morris with some very encouraging numbers:

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/democrats-are-tanking-dick-morris-tv-lunch-alert/
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ccp
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« Reply #1206 on: January 06, 2012, 01:17:35 PM »

Crafty,
Thanks for the post.  Yes I need cheering up.
After listening to the Repubs cutting themselves to pieces (with the sheer joy of the MSM), and hearing them continuely force losing issues like the "non recess/ recess appt" "scandal" which means *nothing* to independent voters I do need some reassuring talk.

When one listens to the MSM Brock is made out to be some sort of brilliant political titan.   Just like Clinton he lets his hair go whiter for the second 4 year run to appear like the elder statesman.   Yes, I guess we are that stupid.

Unfortunately the "trend of an economic recovery" bought and paid for by funny money is so far on his side.

I agree with Rush Limbaugh that there is NO chance the unemployment numbers will not be manipulated to reflect lower employment going into the election.  There are ways they are doing this like putting as many people into disability.   I am convinced the Federal employees are doing that just like immigration officials were advised to push through immigrant papers.

Shove in as much of the progrressive agenda as possible before the election just in case he does lose.


 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1207 on: January 08, 2012, 09:31:58 AM »

By FERGUS CULLEN
New Hampshire primary voters like to pretend they don't pay attention to what happens in Iowa. Nonsense. New Hampshire voters react to the Iowa caucus results, confirming or correcting them as needed. South Carolinians will do the same in turn.

And thank goodness. It's easy to disparage the way we nominate presidential candidates and the role the early states play, but it's like what Winston Churchill said of democracy as a whole: We have the worst nominating system imaginable, except for all the others.

The process works. Some of the candidates may get away with fooling some of the voters and some of the media for some of the time, but not for long. They have to come out from behind the 30-second ads and look voters in the eye. Along the trail from Des Moines to Manchester to Charleston, candidates are vetted, frauds are exposed, and the resulting nominee emerges stronger, a more accurate reflection of the voters' mood and will. Isn't that the whole point of the nominating process?

Campaigns in the early states are changing. This cycle has seen fewer town hall meetings and less retail campaigning than in the past. Candidates have found it easier, cheaper and safer to try to limit their campaigning to debates, cable-TV appearances with friendly hosts, and Facebook.

Who can blame them? Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry all shot up in the polls while almost entirely avoiding shaking hands with New Hampshire voters.

But shunning the people soon caught up with them. Legend had it that Mr. Perry was a great retail campaigner; if so, precious few New Hampshire voters witnessed that skill in person. I estimate that fewer than 2,500 Granite Staters saw Mr. Perry in person this entire campaign. Newt Gingrich has been seen by just a few more, which is part of why he's fading.

The rapid rise and fall of candidates this primary season has made it difficult to distinguish the presidential campaign from a reality TV show. But wasn't C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" series, in which a cameraman and a boom mic follow a candidate around without a script, the original reality TV show?

Enlarge Image

CloseCorbis
 
Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (left) on Thursday at Tilt'n Diner in Tilton, N.H.
.The truth is that campaigns are always changing and evolving. In 1964, Henry Cabot Lodge topped Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller to win the New Hampshire primary through a write-in campaign fueled by a couple of then-unprecedented statewide mailings. In 1980, videotape of Ronald Reagan taking charge of a debate in Nashua by thundering, "I'm paying for this microphone!" went viral without the benefit of YouTube or popular cable television. Pat Buchanan didn't need his primitive website or email to win the 1996 primary.

What hasn't changed is that the early states in the nominating process serve a national purpose by reducing the presidential race to a human scale. Candidates still have to interact with the people they seek to lead, and ordinary citizens still have opportunities to take the measure of candidates in person.

To be sure, it's a tradition more honored in the breach than the observance. The mythological primary character does exist—the flinty Yankee wearing a plaid shirt who rises at a town hall meeting to ask a candidate a tough, well-informed question—but only a small minority of voters attend events with candidates, and fewer still assess multiple candidates in person. Almost all questions at town hall meetings fall into standard, predictable categories, tailor-made for prepared two-minute answers from the candidates. Most New Hampshire primary voters get most of their information the same way voters in other states do: through their televisions.

The point is that voters can meet candidates if they want to, and it's critically important that our nominating process retain that. Early state old hands advise presidential candidates to run as though they are running for governor, and the most successful candidates do. Lesser known candidates with smaller war chests find a level playing field in the early states and an equal opportunity to earn support. Rick Santorum's success in Iowa and Jon Huntsman's foothold in New Hampshire are based on having done more events in those respective states than anyone else. Not every candidate will go home happy with the outcome, but none can depart the race feeling that they didn't get their shot. In the early states, it's still true that anyone can run for president.

Those states, and New Hampshire in particular, remain the petting zoo of presidential politics where voters can see, touch and smell the animals. Everything later is the circus, with voters sitting as spectators in the stands, watching the jumbotron. It's a process that has served the nation well.

Mr. Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party and editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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ccp
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« Reply #1208 on: January 08, 2012, 10:38:20 AM »

"Idealogy will not defeat Obama".  This is my impression as well.  I am so sure about some of what he saysbut I do agree with this point.   Idealogy is not the driver - it is about the money.   We have a split group on the right and left who may care more about ideology.  But as always it is the middle - and ideology is obviously not a concern for them.   And they decide the election: 

By Bill O'Reilly

There is no question that this program will play a major role in a presidential race this year. We are by far the most watched news show in prime time, tripling our opposition and many "Factor" viewers watch us because they want straight talk.

We're not rooting for anybody. We're not in the business of promoting any candidate. And we are tough on everybody.

Now, that alienates some Americans who want their candidate to be coddled. Let's take Rick Santorum who was on the program last night. The central point of the interview with the former senator was that he will now become a target because the media will portray him as a right-wing extremist. There is no doubt that will happen.

So I asked Mr. Santorum about his positions and he did answer the questions. But some Santorum supporters didn't like those questions. Laura Luke who lives in Milford, Michigan, "Bill, I was stunned by the hit- and-run interview you did with Santorum. You finally gave him five minutes and spent the time on issues most Americans don't care about. You owe him an apology".

Well, here are the facts Laura. The interview with Senator Santorum lasted seven minutes, 45 seconds. He ran as a social conservative and did well in Iowa based on that. We framed the interview that way and it was fair.

Mary Syren in St. Louis, "Bill, I am furious with you. You interrupted Rick Santorum big time".

Mr. Santorum spoke for 60 percent... 60 percent of the nearly eight minute interview. It's my job to ask as many questions as possible and keep the conversation pithy. No campaign speeches are allowed on "The Factor." You know that.

Doris, I'm withholding her last name, Lewiston, Idaho. "Bill, why is it that you bully all the conservatives and lavish praise on all your liberal friends?"

Doris, that's just lunacy, as Dick Morris said last night, Kool-Aid drinking cuts both ways. The point here is that we have been remarkably consistent for more than 15 years about asking tough questions. But we have also sharpened our focus recently.

All Americans seeking power will be scrutinized on the program, which is why some of them are too frightened to come on. We don't care much about party politics here. We care a lot about looking out for you.

One more letter about Santorum and we'll have more mail later on. This one from Deborah Mullins, Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. "O'Reilly you were a little soft on Mr. Santorum. You let him off on questions about birth control and gay marriage. It was obvious he did not anticipate those questions."

The Senator answered my questions pretty directly, Deborah. I told you that the interview was not a debate over his social positions. It was to allow Rick Santorum to further define what he has said during the campaign in Iowa. He did that. So I did my job.

And isn't it interesting that one viewer thinks I gave Santorum a pass, while another thinks I hammered him. When analyzing this very important presidential race, you have to put emotion aside. I mean I have to put it aside. You can be as emotional as you want. Just don't go crazy like Doris in Idaho.

Let's take President Obama, for example. As you know, I gave him the benefit of the doubt when he first took office and began trying to federalize the economy. I didn't think that was going to work, but I watched the scenario play out because I'm not an economist. Over the past three years, the economy has remained pretty much stagnant, while the national debt at $15 trillion, is now near the bankruptcy level.

So it is fair to say that Mr. Obama's economic strategy has not worked. That's not a personal shot at him. That's just the fact of the matter. Alan Colmes and other devoted liberals will tell you the President needs more time and incredibly should spend even more money to stimulate the economy.

Well, recently the coaches of the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Bucks were fired because they could not produce winners after three years. Politics is like sports. You have to produce. But Democrat partisans don't care about performance. If you have a "D" after your name, they like you, period. They don't care. Of course, the same holds true for Republican partisans and I'm fine with that on both fronts.

If your political philosophy trumps performance, that's on you. But I live in an entirely different world. The mandate of "The Factor" means we have to be skeptical about all of those seeking power. We have to challenge them and I hope that's why you watch.

Much of our political analysis is based on facts, such as polling we trust from folks like Rasmussen and Gallup. Rasmussen now has Romney at 29 percent among likely Republican voters nationwide; Santorum 21; Gingrich 16, Ron Paul 12.

In the head-to-head matchup, Romney versus Obama, it's tied at 42 percent each. In New Hampshire a Suffolk University tracking poll of likely GOP voters has Romney at 41; Paul 18; Santorum, 8; Gingrich, 7; Huntsman, 7.

Now, there are two debates this weekend, but Saturday is up against an NFL playoff game, so that will be muted and then Sunday's morning is in a debate... Sunday's debate is in the morning I should say. On Monday's "Factor", we'll have the most important parts of those expositions, again, without any favoritism or spin.

Finally let's talk about what this election really means. Let's cut through it. President Obama is no hypocrite. He wants to fundamentally change the country, putting social justice as a top priority. In 2008, he told us he'd do that.

Mr. Obama has been tougher on the terrorists than I thought he'd be. He has largely kept the Bush-Cheney policies in place and the brutally effective drone attacks have angered the ACLU and other far left people. So the President is no phony. He does what he believes is right.

The problem is, the problem, though, is federal spending. Mr. Obama doesn't seem to understand the danger he is courting. He simply does not want to stop the madness despite the massive debt. I mean, these pinheads in Washington are set to approve another $1.5 trillion in debt. That's simply insane.

The truth is, America can't afford national health care right now. We can increase health insurance competition, but we can't pick up the tab for 30 million Americans. No matter what the left believes, no matter how high you raise taxes. And we can no longer afford Medicare and Social Security in the way the programs are set up. They must be modified somewhat for Americans under the age of 40.

The social and financial contract between Washington and we the people has to be changed or the United States will go the way of Greece. As a citizen, I don't understand why President Obama doesn't understand. And that dilemma will be spotlighted on "The Factor" until we do understand.

On the Republican front here is the reality, even though the economy is shaky, 42 percent of Americans would still vote for the President as it stands today. Even with the dangerous debt, even with Solyndra, cap and trade, health care mandate, even with all of that, Mr. Obama remains competitive. He's not Jimmy Carter. The GOP better understand that and the party had better put together a cogent message based upon spending limitations, along with entitlement and tax reform.

Ideology will not... I repeat... will not defeat Barack Obama. His left-wing ideologues match the right-wing folks. If Washington continues to spend more than it takes in, doesn't reform the tax code and entitlements, this nation will go into steep decline. That's what's in play this year 2012. And that's what "The Factor" will be covering in a tough, blunt, no spin way, guaranteed to tee off a lot of folks.

And that's "The Memo."

— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2012/01/06/bill-oreilly-how-
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bigdog
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« Reply #1209 on: January 09, 2012, 09:41:44 AM »


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/us/politics/pro-gingrich-pac-plans-tv-ads-against-romney.html?_r=1&ref=politics&pagewanted=print
PAC Ads to Attack Romney as Predatory Capitalist
By TRIP GABRIEL and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Thanks to a $5 million donation from a wealthy casino owner, a group supporting Newt Gingrich plans to place advertisements in South Carolina this week attacking Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist who destroyed jobs and communities, a full-scale Republican assault on Mr. Romney’s business background.

The advertisements, a counterpunch to a campaign waged against Mr. Gingrich by a group backing Mr. Romney, will be built on excerpts from a scathing movie about Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mr. Romney once ran. The movie, financed by a Republican operative opposed to Mr. Romney, includes emotional interviews with people who lost jobs at companies that Bain bought and later sold.

“We had to load up the U-Haul because we done lost our home,” one woman says.

Democrats have signaled that they intend to make Mr. Romney’s history at Bain a central part of their case against him if he wins the Republican nomination. But Bain has also emerged as an issue in the Republican primary, despite the party’s free market stance and business-friendly policies, reflecting the depth of public anger about the economy. At an appearance here on Sunday, Mr. Gingrich suggested that Bain’s approach was to carry out “clever legal ways to loot a company.”

But the planned advertisements appear to be intended to elevate the subject to a new level as Mr. Gingrich and the other Republican contenders begin to run out of time to slow Mr. Romney’ s progress toward the nomination. They are the latest example of how “super PACs” are carrying out attacks in sync with their preferred candidates and in the process helping to reshape the presidential race. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money but are barred from coordinating with the campaigns they are supporting.

The Bain-centered campaign strikes at the heart of Mr. Romney’s argument for his qualifications as president — that as a successful executive in the private sector, he learned how to create jobs — and advances an argument that President Obama’s re-election campaign has signaled it will employ aggressively against Mr. Romney.

“His business success comes from raiding and destroying businesses — putting people out of work, stealing their health care,” said Rick Tyler, a senior adviser to the pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future, which recently bought the film, “King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” after groups backing two other Republican candidates passed up opportunities to use it.

The movie scenes and the influx of money that enable the pro-Gingrich group to run the advertising campaign have “all the makings of a game-changer,” Mr. Tyler said.

Winning Our Future got the money for the campaign from Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino owner in Las Vegas who has long supported Mr. Gingrich.

The group said it would spend $3.4 million initially on radio and TV advertisements starting Wednesday in South Carolina, where the campaign will move after New Hampshire. Mr. Gingrich, who held the lead in the polls in South Carolina last month before falling back, attributes his fade there and earlier in Iowa, where he finished fourth in the caucuses last week, to a deluge of attack advertisements from a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney, Restore Our Future.

When Mr. Gingrich accused Mr. Romney at a debate on Saturday in New Hampshire of following a “Wall Street model” where “you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers,” Mr. Romney retorted that he had helped create 100,000 jobs, citing successes like Staples.

“It’s puzzling to see Speaker Gingrich and his supporters continue their attacks on free enterprise,” said a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, Andrea Saul. “This is the type of criticism we’ve come to expect from President Obama and his left-wing allies at Moveon.org.”

The film’s producer, Barry Bennett, a former consultant to a super PAC that supports Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, said he came up with the idea himself.

Mr. Bennett said he had bought an “opposition research book” on Mr. Romney compiled by the staff of a Republican rival during the 2008 campaign and had found its contents “stunning.”

“David Axelrod,” he said, referring to Mr. Obama’s strategist, “is going to have a heyday with this, and Republicans need to know this story before we nominate this guy.”

He said he had commissioned Jason Killian Meath, an advertising executive and freelance filmmaker, to direct the movie. Mr. Meath worked on the Romney campaign in 2008 as an associate of Stuart Stevens, who is Mr. Romney’s strategist.

Mr. Bennett said he paid the film’s entire cost, $40,000, from his own pocket; it was never an official project of the pro-Perry group, Make Us Great Again. He said had he never showed it to the pro-Perry group, which he left in October.

But people with knowledge of the film’s provenance said that officials at Make Us Great Again were shown an early portion of the film, and had told Mr. Bennett that they had no interest in using it or paying for it.

In a statement, Scott Rials, the executive director, said: “Make Us Great Again had nothing to do with this video in any way. Period. Barry Bennett worked with us during the startup phase of the super PAC, but we are now working on different projects.”

Mr. Bennett also shopped the film to a super PAC supporting another candidate, Jon M. Huntsman Jr. But officials with the group, Our Destiny, also passed on the film, according to a person with ties to the group.

“We made the decision that that was just not the kind of campaign we wanted to participate in,” said the person, who asked for anonymity to describe private negotiations.

Mr. Tyler, a former long-time aide to Mr. Gingrich who helped set up the super PAC supporting him, disagreed.  “I’m a capitalist, I’m a conservative,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time defending free enterprise from a biblical perspective.”

But Bain Capital, he said, did not fit the model of responsible corporate citizenship.  “If this is free enterprise, then conservatives should have nothing to do with it,” he said. “It is predatory paper-shuffling. Mitt Romney was engaged in the engineered destruction of free enterprise.”

The full 28-minute movie, which the group plans to post online, cuts back and forth between images of Mr. Romney’s “$12 million California beach house” and men and women describing the pain of losing jobs.

A man in a Vietnam veterans hat says: “Who am I? I’m Bob Safford. Mitt Romney and those guys, they don’t care who I am.”

In news clips in the film, Mr. Romney is jeered at for calling corporations “people” and explains that capitalism is “creative destruction.”

Mr. Adelson’s $5 million contribution instantly makes Winning Our Future a major player on the political landscape.

A supporter of conservative causes, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mr. Adelson is especially close to Mr. Gingrich, a kinship that stretches back to the former speaker’s days in the House and has evolved into a relationship that is as much personal as political, according to people who know both men.

Mr. Gingrich, who has vowed to run a positive campaign, has said he will tell supporters not to donate to any group that runs negative advertisements on his behalf. Mr. Tyler said the Romney campaign might find the commercials negative.  “But I think voters will find them instructive and positive and help them make a decision,” he said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1210 on: January 09, 2012, 10:46:43 AM »

Rick Santorum has social conservatives to thank for his strong showing in Iowa, but his ability to win the GOP nomination and defeat President Obama will hang on his economic message. So it's a good moment to sort the good from the bad in the former Pennsylvania Senator's current agenda and Congressional record.

The good news is that Mr. Santorum is focused on spurring faster economic growth, which is the prerequisite for income gains for all Americans, especially the poor. It's a political mistake to focus on income inequality, because Democrats will always outbid Republicans on wealth redistribution. The only way to trump the politics of envy is with the politics of growth.

***
On that score, Mr. Santorum joins most of the other Republicans who are proposing tax reforms that reduce rates in return for closing loopholes. He proposes a return to the Reagan-era top rate of 28%, and a second rate of 10% for middle-income Americans. He also wants a 12% capital-gains tax, down from 15% today, and half the 23.8% rate that Mr. Obama has promised in 2013.

This beats Mr. Romney, who refuses to propose a cut in individual tax rates lest he be accused of favoring the rich. Mr. Santorum doesn't dodge the class-war argument, which Mr. Obama won't let the GOP nominee dodge in any event. Mr. Santorum was especially effective in Saturday night's debate in making the case that Republicans shouldn't stoop to the Democratic rhetoric of pitting "the middle class" against other Americans.

On the other hand, Jon Huntsman's tax reform is superior because it proposes a lower top rate of 23%, which he'd make possible by stripping out nearly all current deductions. Newt Gingrich proposes a voluntary plan with a 15% top rate. Mr. Santorum wants to eliminate deductions for business and the wealthy, but he'd retain some of the costliest deductions, including those for mortgage interest, charities, health care and retirement savings. A President might have to give away these deductions to get a reform through Congress, but Mr. Santorum has conceded them before the bargaining begins.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
 
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
.Most disappointing is the Pennsylvanian's proposal to triple the tax credit for children (from $1,000 today), which is a hobby horse of the Christian right. This is social policy masquerading as economics. Unlike a cut in marginal tax rates, a larger tax credit does little for growth because it doesn't change incentives to save, work or invest. It merely rewards taxpayers who have children over those who don't.

Mr. Santorum is essentially agreeing with liberals who think the tax code should be used to pursue social and political goals. Yet a major goal of tax reform is to make the tax code less of a political free-for-all. The best tax code is one that raises the revenue the government needs with the least amount of economic harm and misallocation of resources.

A similar tax favoritism affects Mr. Santorum's proposal to cut the corporate tax rate in half (to 17.5%) for most companies but make it zero for manufacturers. Mr. Santorum recently defended this form of industrial policy by saying that Wal-Mart (his example) didn't warrant a zero rate because it didn't send jobs overseas.

So any company that threatens to move jobs overseas should get a lower rate than a company that keeps jobs in the U.S.? Watch Mr. Obama have fun with that one. A better economic strategy would be to confer the lowest possible tax rate on all U.S. corporations, including the 89% of economic activity in America that isn't manufacturing.

This rhetoric is of a piece with Mr. Santorum's votes on trade, which reveal a protectionist streak. He voted against Nafta and called Pennsylvania a "loser state" under the deal that has done much to lift and integrate the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He has supported steel tariffs and the 27.5% tariff on China for currency manipulation, which could spark a trade war. The hope is that a President Santorum would represent the economic interests of the nation, not just Pennsylvania, and his platform does call for the ratification of five new trade deals.

On spending, Mr. Santorum had a generally respectable record in his 16 years in Congress. Mr. Romney and others have been hitting him for supporting earmarks, but until the last couple of years you could count on one hand the number of Senators who didn't.

Mr. Santorum was among the architects of the historic Contract with America budget in 1995 (when Newt Gingrich was House Speaker) that helped slow government spending and achieve a balanced budget. He has been especially brave in speaking about the need to reform Social Security, even while representing a state that has the second oldest population after Florida. His vote for George W. Bush's prescription drug bill was a mistake, but then Mr. Gingrich also supported it and RomneyCare in Massachusetts is far worse.

The Santorum platform calls for reducing federal nondefense discretionary spending to 2008 levels through across the board agency cuts, eliminating agriculture and energy subsidies, as well as funding for Planned Parenthood, ObamaCare implementation, and United Nations activities "that undermine America's interests."

He would also join most of the other GOP candidates in sending food stamps, housing payments and Medicaid to the states in the form of a block grant. This is how welfare was reformed, despite wails that it would lead to a "race to the bottom" and hurt the poor. Instead it has been the most successful social-policy reform of the last 30 years.

Overall, we'd score Mr. Santorum's economic agenda as bolder than Mr. Romney's, if not as ambitious as those of Messrs. Huntsman and Gingrich. Judging by this weekend's debates, his elevation to a serious contender has improved the quality of the GOP's economic debate. If Mr. Santorum is going to trump Mr. Romney's money and organization, his best opening is to become the candidate of economic growth.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #1211 on: January 09, 2012, 11:53:37 AM »

Yes, Santorum's plan is good and like George W Bush he also shows that he doesn't really get it.  Huntsman's plan is very good but it is a piece of paper.  I don't hear him selling it.  Similar for Gingrich.  Plenty of good plans but no focus.  Romney is intentionally vague trying to cleverlymake general election attacks more difficult.  Meanwhile he wonders why we don't get all excited about plans that he won't disclose.  Santorum's is perhaps the most realistic tax plan of the  bunch.  I like the idea of top rates in the 20s and capital gains lowered from 15 to 12%.  Zero tax on capital gains would be a dream to me but seems out of touch politically and leaving good government revenues on the table during times of historic deficits.  All these others starting with Pawlenty, Huntsman, Gingrich saying no tax on capital gains for anyone is a campaign promise sure to go nowhere and just gives fuel to the class envy movement.

The latest round of attacks on Romney are fair but don't reflect well on Newt in particular and others IMO.  Half the things Newt attacks on he is guilty of something similar himself and the rest often show either ignorance or deception.  Romney's experience and success at Bain was not a bad thing for the American economy.  The first of those flames thrown is what knocked Newt out of the lead in the first place.  Now it's "Predatory Capitalist"? Romney should have been a more benevolent and socialist capitalist-for-the-people? He should preside over restructuring of companies but treat the outgrown, middle managers like federal employees or tenured professors?  I just don't get what that line of attack is except to oppose or not understand competitive capitalism.  That should be left to the occupy Marxists.

The Obama people are starting to show that Gov. Romney is not the one they want to face.

Update: I agree with the WSJ criticism of Santorum treating manufacturers differently than all other businesses.  They don't need a zero tax; they need a conducive business environment.  Energy policies and impending Obamacare hurt manufacturers more than a high tax rate on no profit.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 01:42:32 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1212 on: January 10, 2012, 09:01:52 AM »

By DAVID BRADY
AND DOUGLAS RIVERS
More Americans now call themselves independents than Democrats or Republicans, and New Hampshire, the site of Tuesday's GOP primary, is no different. About 40% of Granite State voters are not registered in either major political party, and our best estimate is that the share of independents nationally has grown to 42% from 35% over the past three years. That 7% of the electorate is big enough to have changed the outcome of any of the last five presidential elections—and this is not necessarily good news for the GOP.

Barack Obama carried independents by an eight-point margin in the 2008 exit poll—and Republicans carried them by a 19-point margin in the 2010 midterms. Thus GOP candidates may be tempted to believe the independents' disaffection with the president that cost Democrats control of the House will lead inexorably to a Republican presidential victory this year.

 Paul Gigot on Rick Santorum's economic plan and what to expect out of New Hampshire on Tuesday.
.Not so fast. In the first place, Republicans benefited from a low Democratic midterm turnout. According to exit polls, there were about equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters in the midterm, unlike 2008 when Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans by seven percentage points (39% to 32%). Republicans can't count on a low Democratic turnout in 2012 and there are still more registered Democrats than Republicans. To win in 2012, it's good enough for Democrats to split the independent vote. Republicans need to carry a clear majority. And there are significant policy disagreements between independents and the Republican base.

Take, for example, a YouGov survey conducted on Dec. 22. After the economy (which all voters said was their No. 1 concern), the next most important issues for Democrats are Social Security, Medicare and the environment. For each, their preference is for the federal government to do more. For Republicans, the next most important issues are the budget deficit, taxes and immigration and, for the first two, they want the federal government to do less.

Independents, on the other hand, say that health care and education are more important. They tend to worry about what the federal government does in each area, but unlike the Republican base they are not opposed in principle to federal action.

On ObamaCare, for example, independents oppose repeal 40%-33% while Republicans favor 62%-23% and Democrats oppose 46%-27%, according to a Nov. 12 YouGov survey. And in an Oct. 29 YouGov survey, independents opposed cutting federal education spending 56%-20% while Republicans favored reductions 39%-29%. Democrats opposed cutting spending 67%-8%.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, speaks during a campaign stop on January 9 in Hudson, New Hampshire.
.Independents are usually closer to Republicans than Democrats on the general issue of the size of government and government spending. In a Nov. 22 YouGov poll, 76% of independents favored decreasing federal spending and almost half would include entitlements within these cuts.

On the other hand, they are closer to Democrats on raising taxes: 36% of independents favored increasing taxes across the board versus 43% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans.

Moreover, a Sept. 27 YouGov poll revealed overwhelming support for raising taxes on the wealthy: 55% of independents favored raising taxes on families earning over $250,000 (versus 43% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans), and 72% of independents favored raising taxes on families earning more than $1 million (versus 88% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans).

Among the leading Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney has consistently done the best among independents nationally. He normally splits the independent vote with President Obama (38% to 38% in the Dec. 22 YouGov poll), while Newt Gringrich trails among independents by 13 points. But to win, Mr. Romney would have to do better than split the independent vote.

Neither President Obama nor the eventual Republican nominee has the independent vote locked up. How the candidates explain their plans to get the economy moving, and the crucial trade-offs among deficits, jobs and the safety net will determine how the crucial independent vote goes in the 2012 election. Preaching to the choir of Republican primary and caucus voters may well be necessary to win the nomination. But independents hold the key in November 2012.

Mr. Brady is deputy director of the Hoover Institution and a professor in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Mr. Rivers is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford. He is also chairman of YouGov America, a survey and research company.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1213 on: January 10, 2012, 03:08:58 PM »

WILL BAIN DERAIL ROMNEY?
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on January 10, 2012

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The short answer is: No!  People, particularly Republicans, understand the difference between capitalism and safety-net socialism.  They are even savvy enough to have heard of Schumpeter's doctrine of the "gales of creative destruction" that blow through our economy. They grasp that if we save everyone's job and everyone's pension and everyone's company, we will become so ossified, so indebted, so burdened that we will never be able to create any new jobs or wealth.
 
They get it that to attract capital to turn around ailing companies, you need either to have a very good lobbyist who makes mega campaign contributions or a good enough return on capital to attract private investors.  Obama is trying the first way.  Romney did the second.  Republicans get this.
 
They also understand that Romney was scarcely a "predator" as Rick Tyler, spokesman for the new anti-Romney movie, describes him.  Critics zero in on GS Technologies, a steel company that, like more than forty others, went bankrupt in the late 90s or the early years of the new century.  Was Romney a "predator?" Was Bain Capital?  What predator would make an initial investment of $8 million and then up its investment to $16 million in an effort to turn the failing company around?  What "predator" would merge the company with a stronger one in an effort to preserve it in a highly competitive global marketplace?
 
Was Romney a "predator" when GS went bankrupt in 2001?  He had left Bain in 1999.  The decision to deny the GS workers their pensions and health benefits was Bain's, not Romney's.  He was out of the picture by then.
 
And what of the more than one hundred thousand people who have jobs and pensions and health insurance because of Romney's work at Bain Capital?  What of the winners and the survivors who far outnumbered the losers during Romney's Bain Capital years?
 
For Republicans to be attacking a Republican for winning in the free market and for turning companies around so they make a profit (without public subsidy) is a sad sight.  They will come to rue their criticisms.  Bain will not become the bane of Romney's existence!
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« Reply #1214 on: January 10, 2012, 06:45:58 PM »

One reason Mitt Romney has had trouble pulling away from the Republican pack isn't just the strength or persistence of his opponents. It's also the changing nature of the party itself.

As Republican voters went to the polls Tuesday in New Hampshire, they were casting ballots within a party that has become steadily more blue collar, populist and driven by voters who are as much independents as Republicans. Those factors explain the rise of Ron Paul in New Hampshire and the wave that Rick Santorum rode into the state from his strong showing in Iowa—as well as the harsh attacks fellow Republicans launched on Mr. Romney's record as a financier at Bain Capital.

Stereotypes often die hard, which certainly is true in politics—and nowhere more true than in the perceptions of the two major parties. The image of the Democrats as the party of the working class and the Republicans as the party of the capitalist class has some basis in reality, but not nearly so much as a century ago when those perceptions became entrenched.

Consider a few data points that illustrate what Republican voters really look like today:

• When the thousands of interviews conducted in last year's Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls are combined, Americans who call themselves blue-collar workers actually were slightly more likely to identify themselves as Republicans than Democrats, and the two parties were split evenly among those with family incomes of $30,000 to $75,000.

• When the Journal/NBC News poll asked Americans in November who was responsible for the country's current economic problems, Republicans were precisely as likely as Democrats to blame "Wall Street bankers."

• In the 2008 presidential election, even as Republican nominee John McCain was losing the national vote by seven percentage points to Barack Obama, he won among white voters without a college degree—a reasonable definition of working-class whites—by 18 percentage points.

All that suggests a Republican party with a different kind of base than popularly imagined. It seems fair to trace the start of the GOP's evolution to this stereotype-busting condition back to the rise of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and his creation of a bloc of "Reagan Democrats."

Those were working-class voters who had stuck with the Democratic party for decades out of a sense the Democrats were looking out for their economic needs, but who moved to the Republicans because of their more conservative stance on cultural and social issues.

Then in 1996, Pat Buchanan started to put a populist economic overlay on this evolution by rousing his so-called pitchfork brigades of followers to win the New Hampshire primary. He also showed the limits of his movement by failing to win a single state after that.

In more recent years, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty—himself briefly a presidential candidate this cycle—identified the growing working-class contingent within his party by arguing the GOP should be explicitly designing economic policies to appeal to "Sam's Club Republicans."

Finally, two years ago, the tea-party movement arose and, in large measure, attached itself to the Republican party. That accentuated the populist, anti-establishment and anti-Wall Street impulses that already were flowing through the party.

All that formed the backdrop for the 2012 primary in New Hampshire, as well as Mr. Romney's struggle to maintain the position he long ago established as the prohibitive favorite there. Mr. Santorum nearly won Iowa's caucuses while emphasizing his conservative social positions as well as the blue-collar sensibilities and working-class empathy he inherited as the grandson of coal miners.

And Mr. Paul rode his libertarian, anti-big-bank, anti-establishment message into a much stronger position in New Hampshire than he enjoyed just four years ago, when he won less than 8% of the state's vote. In a period when the share of voters who identify themselves as neither Democrats nor Republicans but rather as independents is rising, Mr. Paul's ability to draw independents into GOP primaries and caucuses has changed the game.

It was against that backdrop that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attempted to get a slice of the GOP's populist action by launching a harsh, 11th-hour attack on Mr. Romney's record as a private-equity executive at Bain Capital, painting him as a predatory capitalist who used the power of money to strip companies and toss blue-collar workers out of their jobs.

The fact that there was almost no difference between that line of attack and the one a liberal Democrat, Ted Kennedy, used against Mr. Romney in a 1994 Senate race says much about how the party has changed in the ensuing years—and why Mr. Romney will continue to hear such attacks after New Hampshire, even from fellow Republicans.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #1215 on: January 11, 2012, 09:54:50 AM »

Newt elaborated quite extensively on his anti-capitalism message yesterday and has lost me forever.  (Perry also.)

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2012-presidential-campaign/gingrich-defends-king-of-bain-ad-20120110
"I don't think I'm using the language of the Left. I'm using the language of classic American populism," he said on Fox and Friends. "Main Street has always been suspicious of Wall Street."

The ad targets Gingrich opponent and the front-runner Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist who was “playing the system for a quick buck” during his time at private-equity firm Bain Capital.

The film features poignant interviews with people who lost jobs at companies bought and then later dissolved by Bain. 

“There's a big difference between people who go out to create a company, even if they fail, if they try in the right direction, if they share in the hardships, if they're out there with the workers doing it together, that's one thing,” he said on Fox. “But if somebody who is very wealthy comes in, takes over your company, takes out all the cash and leaves behind the unemployment, I think that's not a model we want to advocate."

Watch the trailer, a story of greed.  http://www.theblaze.com/stories/pro-newt-group-releases-trailer-for-anti-romney-movie-when-mitt-romney-came-to-town/
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« Reply #1216 on: January 11, 2012, 10:42:22 AM »

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/10/1053376/-Mitt-Free-Enterprise-Romney-sought-and-received-federal-bailout-for-Bain
============

Upright
"For the past year, the question has been whether Mitt Romney would be acceptable to the Republican party. ... Some pundits continue to dream of a great conservative hope who will enter the race and save us from Romney -- perhaps even at a brokered convention. But the voters have now had two opportunities to speak. Two thirds of voters in New Hampshire said they were satisfied with the field. Romney has won a solid victory there. He succeeded with Tea Party supporters and self-described conservatives. And now Newt Gingrich has offered Romney a gift. By attacking him from the left as a heartless tycoon, he has given Romney the chance to campaign as the defender of capitalism and free markets. ... While it's too early to say the race is sewn up, it is looking very good for Mitt Romney." --columnist Mona Charen
"Whatever chance at a comeback Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry had went up on the pyre they lit with their attacks [against Romney], on Bain specifically and free-market venture capital generally. The recognition that one cannot defend capitalism while attacking capital is spreading. Blaming Bain for layoffs is like blaming the lifeboats for being late to the Titanic. No matter how you judge their performances, we are a whole lot better for having venture capitalists at hand, even when they don't bat anywhere near 1.000." --radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt




==========
FWIW, I'd like to see more about Romney's Bain Capital record before make a decision.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 10:49:31 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #1217 on: January 11, 2012, 10:55:04 AM »

“There's a big difference between people who go out to create a company, even if they fail, if they try in the right direction, if they share in the hardships, if they're out there with the workers doing it together, that's one thing,” he said on Fox. “But if somebody who is very wealthy comes in, takes over your company, takes out all the cash and leaves behind the unemployment, I think that's not a model we want to advocate."

Well said, and said by a Republican.   grin

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/26/1040130/-Redstate:-Romney-Unelectable-Because-of-Bain-Capital-Ties?via=sidebyuserrec
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« Reply #1218 on: January 11, 2012, 11:00:12 AM »

About the best that can be said about the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital is that President Obama is going to do the same thing eventually, so GOP primary voters might as well know what's coming. Yet that hardly absolves Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others for their crude and damaging caricatures of modern business and capitalism.

Bain's business model is little more than "rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company," says Mr. Gingrich, whose previous insights into free enterprise include years of defending the taxpayer-fed business of corn ethanol.

A super PAC supporting the former House Speaker plans to spend $3.4 million in TV ads in South Carolina portraying Mr. Romney as Gordon Gekko without the social conscience. The financing for these ads will come from a billionaire who made his money in the casino business, which Mr. Gingrich apparently considers morally superior to investing in companies in the hope of making a profit.

Mr. Perry, who has no problem using taxpayer financing to back his political allies in Texas, chimes in that "I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips, whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out. Because his company Bain Capital, with all the jobs that they killed, I'm sure he was worried he'd run out of pink slips."

Politics isn't subtle, and these candidates are desperate, but do they have to sound like Michael Moore?

***
We have our policy differences with Mr. Romney, but by any reasonable measure Bain Capital has been a net job and wealth creator. Founded in 1984 as an offshoot of the Bain consulting company, Bain Capital's business is a combination of private equity and venture capital. The latter means taking a flyer on start-ups that may or may not pan out, something that neither Mr. Gingrich nor Mr. Obama seem to find offensive when those investments are made by Silicon Valley firms in "clean energy."

One Bain investment during Mr. Romney's tenure was to back an entrepreneur named Tom Stemberg, who was convinced he could provide savings for small-business owners if they were willing to shop at a store instead of taking deliveries. Today, the Staples chain of business-supply stores employs 90,000 people.

Bain also backed a start-up called Bright Horizons that now manages child-care centers for more than 700 corporate clients around the world. Many other venture bets failed, but that's capitalism, which is supposed to be a profit and loss system.

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Mitt Romney at Bain's offices in Copley Plaza in 1990.
.The loss part is what seems to trouble the Gingrich-Perry-Obama critics, especially in Bain's private-equity business. Like some 2,300 other such U.S. equity firms, Bain looks to buy companies that are underperforming or undervalued and turn them around.

Far from "looting," this is a vital contribution to capitalism and corporate governance. One of the persistent gripes of the left is that too many CEOs make too much money even as their companies flounder. Private-equity firms target such companies or subsidiaries, replace their management, and try to unlock the underlying value in the enterprise.

Private equity helps to promote dynamic capitalism that creates wealth, rather than dinosaur capitalism of the kind that prevails in Europe and futilely tries to prevent failure. Sometimes this means closing parts of the company and laying off employees, but the overriding goal is to create value, not destroy it.

A Wall Street Journal news story this week reported that Bain in the Romney era differed from many equity firms in buying more young and thus riskier companies. This contributed to a higher rate of bankruptcy or closure—22%—for companies held by Bain after eight years.

Bain disputes the Journal's calculations, but one test of overall success is whether investors keep entrusting a firm with their money. Mr. Romney and his colleagues raised $37 million for their first fund in 1984. Today, Bain Capital manages roughly $66 billion. Its investors include college endowments and public pension funds that have increased their investments in private equity to get larger returns than stocks and bonds provide. The people who benefit from those returns thus include average workers.

Bain's turnaround hits include Sports Authority and tech-research outfit Gartner Inc., which was once a small division of an advertising firm and is now a public company worth more than $3 billion. Another success was Steel Dynamics, which used Bain money to build a new steel factory and now employs 6,000 people.

The tougher questions for Mr. Romney involve the cases in which Bain took early payouts in dividends and management fees after purchasing existing businesses that ultimately went bankrupt. There are several in this category, including another steel company called GSI, though its hundreds of job losses were far fewer than the jobs created at Steel Dynamics.

The medical-equipment maker once known as Dade International is now much larger than it was when Bain bought it in the 1990s. But Mr. Romney's company later sold its stake, and heavy debts taken on during the Bain years forced Dade to spend two months in bankruptcy in 2002 and cost 2,000 jobs. The company later resumed its rapid growth, and Siemens bought it in 2007 for $7 billion.

Certainly Bain Capital made sure that its investment partners were paid first, but the larger truth is that the invisible hand worked pretty well. Notice that because the overall job statistics for Bain investments are by all accounts positive, many critics attack the Romney record with claims about private equity in general. The left is cheering a study commissioned by the Census Bureau that found that companies bought by private-equity firms suffer more job losses soon after a buy-out than similar firms that didn't experience buy-outs.

But this is hardly surprising since the companies were acquired in part because they were underperforming. The critics also don't mention that the Census study found that firms acquired in private-equity transactions created more new jobs in the ensuing decade. Imagine what might have happened if Chrysler or GM had been bought by private equity two or three decades ago. They might have been turned around much earlier, at far less pain to fewer workers, and without any taxpayer cost.

***
The larger political point is that Mr. Romney has a good story to tell if he is willing to elevate this ugly rumble into a debate over free enterprise and America's future. This is not Mr. Romney's strength, as he prefers to talk in personal terms ("I'm an optimist!") or to lapse into his default mode as the corporate technocrat. This invites personal attacks in return and it leads him into mistakes like this week's gaffe that "I like being able to fire people who provide me services."

Mr. Romney needs to rise above the personal and base his claim to office on a defense of the system of free enterprise that has enriched America over the decades and is now under assault. Mr. Obama will attack Mr. Romney as Gordon Gekko because the President can't win by touting his own economic record. Mr. Romney's GOP opponents (with the admirable exception of Rick Santorum) are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line, but Mr. Romney should view this as an opportunity to stake his campaign on something larger and far more important than his own business expertise.
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« Reply #1219 on: January 11, 2012, 11:18:47 AM »

"About the best that can be said about the Republican attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital is that President Obama is going to do the same thing..."

  - The difference is that the next accuser cannot be painted as anti-capitalism, anti-free market or far left when they can point to a conservative standard bearer like Newt Gingrich as the source of their attack.  Our liberal Sen. Amy Klobuchar escaped all attempts to be painted as extreme by showing how Sen John McCain had shared her anti-Republican views in the early 2000s.

"...if somebody who is very wealthy comes in, takes over your company..."

  - In a free society, how does someone 'come in and take over' your company?  Someone help me with that.  How does that happen with a private company, "your company".  And when you took 'your company' public, or when you gave away shares and control to people from far away in exchange for money, what did you think that meant?  (It isn't "your company" or YOU would be the one making that decision.)
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« Reply #1220 on: January 11, 2012, 01:30:52 PM »

Crafty: "FWIW, I'd like to see more about Romney's Bain Capital record before make a decision."

Likewise - I am no student of Bain but I know operations of other private venture capital firms.  I would point out that a) Romney was 'vetted' in Massachusetts closer to where he operated, b) this was left to an 11th hour desperation attack, if disqualifying, where was it during the last 8 months of the anyone but Romney movement, and c) what do we know about the mortals who comprise his opponents as we make attacks on what everyone did going back 20+ years... Obama doing some blow(?) and meeting over a coffee with terrorists, saying Amen and will you preside over our marriage to Rev. 'God Damn America', Gingrich starting every sentence with Marianne and I publicly, while pressing the Clinton impeachment, while sleeping with Calista, then 'chief 'historian' of the GSEs etc.  Romney is accused at being good at private sector capitalism, making organizations more effective and efficient which necessarily involves career setbacks for people deemed to be ineffective or in oversupply in a company.  Good grief.  Gingrich and Perry IMO aren't trying to save America from this capitalist.  They are trying to keep themselves in a race that is looking a lot like a sweep.

The video draws a correlation between Romney getting wealthy and others losing jobs.  In free enterprise people get wealthy and people lose jobs.  Often times those are the same people who lost their job and went on to greatness!  To Newt, JDN, whoever, are you for that or against that, or do you deny that?  Michael Moore's premise in 'Roger and me' is that if GM employed everyone in our family for generations, they owe me and my children jobs forever, not matter how bad our work product or how uncompetitive our pay package and factory performance becomes.  IMO, we are running against this mindset and looking for the person who can best explain and convey the advantages of freedom of enterprise, in spite of, like democracy, its ugliness.

Bigdog posted how winning Iowa alone, straw poll or caucus, was no great indicator of becoming President.  Romney is the first non-incumbent to win both Iowa and NH since Iowa started the tradition of going first in 1976.  Two very different contests.  If he wins SC and FL, this is over and the these regrettable quotes were all just scorched earth ego offerings that will come back to bite.
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« Reply #1221 on: January 11, 2012, 04:17:53 PM »

9-9-9: THE KEY TO REPUBLICAN VICTORY
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on January 11, 2012

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Two facts emerge from the New Hampshire Primary with ominous implications for the GOP in 2012:
 
•  Pat Caddell reports that there were 25,000 fewer votes in the New Hampshire Republican Primary this year than in 2008, even though there was a Democratic contest between Obama and Hillary to siphon votes away from the GOP contest that year. 
 
•  And exit polls show that Ron Paul won half of the votes of those under 30 in the New Hampshire contest.  It is Ron Paul - with his message of fundamental economic change - not Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum - with their anti-Obama message that is spreading on American campuses, competing for the very heart of the Obama base.
 
Both data point to an enthusiasm gap for the 2012 Republican nominee that could be dangerous.  As the campaigns descended into negative advertising, a decreased turnout was a predictable consequence.  But the rallying of young people to Ron Paul suggests that the Republicans need more than just an anti-Obama message.  After all, young people understand that the pre-Obama economy was bad and that the recession began before Obama was even running for president. They realize that their future depends on an affirmative program, not just on repeal of the Obama laws and regulations.
 
But, while we need the enthusiasm that Ron Paul ignites, we do not need Ron. Another Ronald -- Reagan - built the Republican majority by baking the three disparate wings of the Republican Party into one political layer cake.  He combined the national security conservatives with the evangelical social populists and the free market economy advocates into a force that won at the polls.  Ron Paul is seeking to deconstruct the Reagan coalition by embracing economic conservatism while shunning the evangelical social agenda and the concerns of the national security voters.  His recipe is one for a massive defeat.
 
But you don't need to embrace Ron Paul's nutty foreign policy and self-flagellation in blaming terrorism on our own policies to get the restructuring that our economy needs. Herman Cain's 9-9-9 program will do the trick.  It can appeal to the young Ron Paul voters offering them the kind of basic economic change that they seek.  By transferring the locus of taxation from production to consumption, 9-9-9 can create jobs by incentivizing the creation of wealth.  The Obama focus on economic stimulus that catalyzes demand for products and services often creates jobs in China more than it does in the United States.
 
Cain is planning a new effort to promote his 9-9-9 plan now that his candidacy is over.  It could not come at a better time for the Republican Party. (Those wishing to join should go to www.cainconnections.com.)  He is doing a bus tour and the rounds of television shows to push his substantive agenda.  And, in the process, can breathe enthusiasm back into Republican ranks.
 
9-9-9 will satisfy the libertarian impulse that underscores Paul's appeal, particularly to the young.  It will simplify the tax code so that it is a means of raising government revenue, not of promoting social engineering.  Tax laws won't tell us what to buy, where to invest, and how to live.  Instead, it will leave these decisions to each us.
 
9-9-9 offers an agenda to repair the flaws in the economy that led to the stagnation of the late years of the last decade before Obama even arrived on the scene.  It will make America a land of incredible business opportunity, luring innovators and job creators to the nation with what would then be the lowest maximum personal income tax rate on earth.  The repeal of the capital gains tax will eliminate the barrier that stands between innovation and capital and will encourage the kind of explosion of economic growth that we need.
 
If Mitt Romney is to be the nominee, he needs a better message than his current reliance on his private sector credentials and his desire to oust the current Administration.  His flat tax ideas have not ignited a wave of enthusiasm nor will they.  They are yesterday's ideas.  He needs 9-9-9.  The Republican Party needs it. And America needs it as well.
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AndrewBole
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« Reply #1222 on: January 11, 2012, 04:35:21 PM »

im sure you have seen this elsewhere,

but without further ado, I give you

vermin supreme

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFXXAuDK1Ao&feature=player_embedded


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1223 on: January 11, 2012, 05:31:38 PM »

Somehow I missed that one Andrew cheesy

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/romney-delivers-victory-speech-unlike-obama-i-will-never-apologize-for-the-greatest-nation-in-the-history-of-the-earth/
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 05:47:01 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
bigdog
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« Reply #1224 on: January 12, 2012, 07:10:33 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/us/politics/romney-attacks-may-help-democrats.html?_r=1&ref=politics
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bigdog
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« Reply #1225 on: January 12, 2012, 07:12:28 AM »

... just ask him.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/203735-white-house-no-were-not-campaigning
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« Reply #1226 on: January 12, 2012, 03:13:34 PM »


By NEIL KING JR., BRODY MULLINS and DANNY YADRON
CHARLESTON, S.C.—Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tried to slam the door Wednesday on criticism of his business record at Bain Capital, arguing his sweeping victory in New Hampshire repudiated that line of attack.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tried to slam the door Wednesday on criticism of his business record at Bain Capital, arguing his sweeping victory in New Hampshire repudiated that line of attack. Neil King has details on Campaign Journal.
But the debate over Bain—a proxy for a broader argument about the rough and tumble of market capitalism—looks set to continue through the next primary in South Carolina, a state with a pronounced populist streak that is possibly the last chance for Mr. Romney's rivals to slow his march toward the nomination.

Newt Gingrich, one of the harshest critics of Mr. Romney's Bain years, acknowledged Wednesday that it was a tough argument, but his campaign said he has no plans to back off. A group supporting Mr. Gingrich's candidacy, Winning our Future, continued to hammer the issue, as did Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who described Mr. Romney as a "vulture capitalist" while spotlighting factories in South Carolina where he said Bain had cut jobs during Mr. Romney's tenure.

Supporting Mr. Romney were a number of Republicans, including two of his rivals for the nomination, who rallied around the former Massachusetts governor, raising the possibility that the spat could in fact strengthen his hand. "Capitalism without failure isn't capitalism," GOP candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. told an audience of mostly students in Columbia, S.C. He was joined by Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who said bashing Bain was a mistake.

 
The Republican nomination fight, careening into the Palmetto State, is opening philosophical and tactical divides within the GOP. Some Republicans see the attacks on Mr. Romney as undermining the party's traditional defense of markets and rugged capitalism, as well as their likely nominee, while also playing into the hands of Democrats seeking to make hay out of many of the same issues.
Conservative commentators have criticized Messrs. Perry and Gingrich for attacking Mr. Romney's business credentials, saying they were mimicking the Occupy Wall Street movement and channeling the Obama administration.
At a campaign event in Spartanburg, an audience member urged Mr. Gingrich to "lay off" attacking Mr. Romney's time at Bain. Dean Glossop said he was a longtime admirer of Mr. Gingrich and opposed Mr. Romney's candidacy, but he said the attacks on Mr. Romney's private-sector career were counterproductive.

At the event, Mr. Gingrich said he agreed that it was a difficult argument to make and turned to blaming President Barack Obama for making it difficult for Republicans to talk about capitalism. Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said Mr. Gingrich "agreed it was tough to argue, not that he will back off."
Afterward, Mr. Glossop, 47, said of Mr. Romney: "Let's not criticize his success as a capitalist; rather we should criticize his failure as a conservative."
Driving the attack on Mr. Romney isn't just the tactical advantage viewed by some of his rivals, but a shift in the GOP that has been evident since before the 2010 midterm elections. As the tea party has energized the Republican base, the party as a whole has been willing to countenance populist arguments more commonly associated with outlier candidates of past years such as Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot.
According to a compilation of thousands of interviews conducted for The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in 2011, blue-collar workers now are slightly more likely to call themselves Republicans than Democrats. And when Americans were asked last fall whom to blame for the country's economic problems, Republicans pointed a finger at Wall Street bankers just as often as Democrats did.
Still, the results in both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest that Mr. Romney isn't hurt by these trends as much as some of his opponents may think. In both states, polls of voters suggest he had solid support among both self-proclaimed conservatives and tea-party supporters. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed that Mr. Romney won convincingly among both groups.
Bain Capital was a pioneer in the business of buying up companies with the idea of turning them around and selling them for a profit. The firm notched some big successes, and Mr. Romney has claimed it helped create 100,000 jobs. Its tactics, however, which often included job cuts, have become tinder for a debate that has been consuming the party leading up to the South Carolina vote Jan. 21.
The theme hit a chord with a growing camp within the GOP that sees Bain as a kind of elite capitalist club out of sync with the idea that anyone can succeed with hard work. They say Mr. Romney's years as a private-equity manager at Bain could weigh on his candidacy, especially amid signs of rising antagonism toward financial elites.
"I support capitalism, but if somebody does anything that's kind of questionable, then we have the right to ask all the questions," said Jean Hampton, vice chairman of Carolina Patriots, a tea-party group based in Myrtle Beach.
It was a message Mr. Perry in particular hit hard on Wednesday. "I understand restructuring…but the idea that we can't criticize someone for these get-rich-quick schemes is not appropriate from my perspective," the Texas governor told voters at a restaurant rally in Lexington.
Rivals of Mr. Romney acknowledged Wednesday that South Carolina likely represents the last place to knock him off his stride. Messrs. Perry and Gingrich once enjoyed strong footholds here, but both did poorly in the first two contests and are running low on money and momentum. Mr. Gingrich nabbed less than 10% of the votes in New Hampshire and Mr. Perry a meager 1%.


Hitting back at his opponents, Mr. Romney said on several cable TV programs Wednesday that his resounding victory in New Hampshire proved the attacks against him not only fell flat, but backfired.
Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Romney said he was prepared to face questions about his time at Bain but was surprised the volleys came from Republicans. "We've understood for a long time that the Obama people would come after free enterprise," he said after he boarded his campaign plane to South Carolina. "Little surprised to see Newt Gingrich as the first witness for the prosecution."
The feud has astonished some of the state's top business figures. Barry Wynn, one of South Carolina's most prominent Republicans and chief executive of the private investment group Colonial Group Inc., said he found the attacks hard to stomach.
"The whole thing smacks of desperation and is anathema to what most Republicans believe," Mr. Wynn said. Pushing back, he and around a dozen other longtime Republicans plan to endorse Mr. Romney as a group Thursday morning.
One risk to the party comes from alienating Wall Street firms that after decades of support for Democrats have started to venture into the GOP fold. Managers and employees of hedge funds, for example, directed a majority of their contributions to the GOP during the most recent midterm election season, a pattern not seen since 1996, when the industry was much smaller.
Some finance executives said they were watching Mr. Romney's response closely, hoping he defends their business.
"What we're more curious about is how hard Romney will fight back against this line of attack," said Todd Klein, who helps run Legend Ventures LLC, a private-equity firm that invests in younger companies. "The open question in our minds is what kind of 'scrapper' Romney will be and whether he will play defense or offense on this issue."
Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said the attacks could get real purchase in the state, where unemployment is nearly 10% and the average person earns less than $30,000 a year.
"If Romney ends up appearing to be Gordon Gekko saying 'greed is good,' that causes him major problems in South Carolina," Mr. Harpootlian said.
One fund-raiser for Mr. Perry, who is close to the campaign, said he thought that the attacks on Mr. Romney were "deplorable" and that it was time for the party to begin coalescing around a candidate.
However, a "super PAC" supporting Mr. Gingrich released a 28-minute film called "King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town," which features interviews with distraught people who say they lost their jobs at companies taken over by Bain.
The pro-Gingrich group, Winning our Future, said it plans to spend as much as $3.4 million on ads attacking Mr. Romney in South Carolina, many of them based on footage from the film.
In a written statement, the group drew a distinction between Wall Street and what it called traditional forms of capitalism. "Wall Street and true free enterprise are divorced as never before," the group said.
Some members of the buyout industry said that for all his criticisms of Bain, Mr. Gingrich once benefited from the business as an adviser to Forstmann Little & Co. That firm led lucrative takeovers of Dr Pepper Co., Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Topps Co. and others, deals that helped make its recently deceased founder, Theodore Forstmann, a billionaire.
Mr. Forstmann was critical of the heavy use of borrowed money by some in the industry, calling these rivals "barbarians."
As an adviser to the firm, Mr. Gingrich attended meetings two or three times a year, though he didn't spend much time working on the firm's deals, according to a person close to the matter.
"The private-equity bashing by Newt is most ironic," says Scott Higbee, a partner at Partners Group, a Boston-based firm that invests about $25 billion in private-equity firms including Bain and Carlyle. "It seems like a case of a cornered animal grasping to maintain relevancy."
Mr. Gingrich's campaign didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
—Gregory Zuckerman and Carol E. Lee contributed to this article.


By Brody Mullins
Newt Gingrich struck a populist note at a South Carolina campaign event Thursday, saying that as president he would demand an accounting of federal funds that went to Wall Street during the financial crisis.

 “We deserve some kind of accounting,” Mr. Gingrich said at The Palmetto Senior Show at the Columbia fairgrounds. “The American people have a right to know…where every penny went to find out who got the money and why they got the money,” he said.
Mr. Gingrich’s comments are his latest effort to tap into the populist sentiment in South Carolina ahead of the state’s Jan. 21 primary and draw a clear distinction between himself and his chief rival, Mitt Romney. Mr. Gingrich has come under fire from some conservatives here for attacking Mr. Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, a private equity firm the former Massachusetts governor had headed.
These conservatives say that the Republican Party should be the defender of capitalism and free markets – not criticizing Mr. Romney for making a personal fortune at his private equity firm.
Today, Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, made it clear he will not defend capitalism in all forms. “When you have crony capitalism with politicians taking care of their friends, that’s not capitalism,” he said in an apparent reference to the government’s financial bailouts.
In a line that drew some applause, Mr. Gingrich referred to financial institutions as “these extraordinary wealthy institutions.”
By Jennifer Levitz


Republican star and Fox News political analyst Sarah Palin said criticism of Mitt Romney‘s record at Bain Capital by some Republican rivals is fair game and that voters should get “proof” of the 100,000 jobs Mr. Romney said he helped create while he headed the private equity firm.
In an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity Wednesday, Ms. Palin was asked about Texas Gov. Rick Perry‘s comments that Mr. Romney had practiced “vulture capitalism” rather than venture capitalism at Bain. Fox and The Wall Street Journal are owned by News Corp.
“I don’t agree with attacks on free-market capitalism at all but I don’t believe this is really what is at the heart of Gov. Perry’s criticism of Romney and his time at Bain,” the former Alaska governor replied.  “This isn’t about a politician making huge profits in the private sector. I think what Gov. Perry is getting at is that Gov. Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and you know, now people are wanting to know is there proof of that claim.”
Gov. Palin’s comments add to the turmoil among Republicans: Is the GOP shooting itself in the foot and making things easier for Democrats down the road by criticizing Mr. Romney’s business record?
Mr. Palin, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, has not publicly endorsed a candidate but her husband, Todd Palin, earlier this week endorsed candidate Newt Gingrich, who has been blasting Mr. Romney over his record of cutting jobs while at Bain.
Ms. Palin said it is fair for candidates to ask Mr. Romney to “own up to the claim being made” about jobs “because so many of us are concerned with what is going on Main Street as well as Wall Street.”
“That is fair. That is not negative campaigning,” she said.
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« Reply #1227 on: January 12, 2012, 03:18:01 PM »

second post

By Fred Barnes
Mitt Romney is rolling to the Republican presidential nomination. He's the first Republican other than a sitting president to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Yet he just began confronting the greatest threat to his quest for the presidency—an explosive issue that could diminish the Republican Party's prospects for defeating President Obama.

The issue is Mr. Romney's record as an investor and corporate-turnaround artist at Bain Capital from 1984 to 1999. That experience is the heart of his campaign for the White House, the source of his claim to be uniquely qualified to invigorate the economy and create jobs.

But increasingly Mr. Romney is accused, as boss of Bain, of buying battered companies to loot and bankrupt them, firing thousands of workers while making millions himself. The charge is bad enough. That it's now coming not just from Democrats but from two of his Republican rivals—former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry—makes things worse.

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Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney
.One can imagine TV ads aired by Mr. Obama's re-election team that feature clips of Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Perry and possibly ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman attacking Mr. Romney on his Bain record. The ads would be a double-barreled assault on Mr. Romney's success as a businessman and on Republicans as the party of corporate wheeler-dealers and the uncaring rich.

The Bain issue surfaced last weekend, too late to have any noticeable impact on Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, won by Mr. Romney in impressive fashion. Though favored to win, Mr. Romney exceeded expectations.

That wasn't all. After nearly upsetting Mr. Romney in Iowa last week, former Sen. Rick Santorum was seen as a candidate around whom conservatives might rally in New Hampshire. But they failed to elevate him or anyone else as the conservative alternative to Mr. Romney. Mr. Santorum was nosed out by Mr. Gingrich for fourth place.

By winning, Mr. Romney has history on his side. Both other non-incumbent candidates who have won Iowa and New Hampshire—Jimmy Carter in 1976 and John Kerry in 2004—have gone on to capture their party's nomination. And if Mr. Romney wins the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21, he'd be close to locking up the nomination. He currently leads the polls in the Palmetto State, but with the Bain assault his path could be interrupted or reversed.

Related Video
 Larry Sabato on the New Hampshire primary results and what to watch for in South Carolina.
..An outside super PAC backing Mr. Gingrich plans to spend nearly $3.5 million on television in South Carolina, with Bain its chief subject. It has acquired a 28-minute film that denounces Mr. Romney as a "predatory corporate raider." The private equity firm is also likely to get considerable attention in two nationally televised debates in South Carolina.

Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry insist Mr. Romney veered from "traditional capitalism" at Bain. Campaigning in South Carolina, Mr. Perry has been drawing a distinction between "venture capitalism" and the "vulture capitalism" he says was practiced by Mr. Romney.

This isn't the first time the Bain issue has been exploited against Mr. Romney. In 1994, he sought Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, pulling even in polls weeks before election day. Kennedy responded with television spots of workers laid off at a company, American Pad & Paper, once owned by Bain Capital. The ads worked. Mr. Romney lost, 59% to 41%.

But the Bain angle has a twist today, as the essentially left-wing critique has been adopted by conservative Republicans. It's as if a Democratic challenger to President Obama attacked his health-care plan with arguments borrowed from Republicans and conservatives. As it is, Mr. Obama has no Democratic opponent.

Mr. Romney is reluctant to defend his conduct at Bain, perhaps fearing that would only add fuel the issue. On Tuesday night he zinged "desperate Republicans" for echoing Mr. Obama's strategy to "put free enterprise on trial. . . . This is such a mistake for our party and our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy." But that was it. Otherwise, Mr. Romney's speech focused on Mr. Obama.

Messrs. Gingrich and Perry appear untroubled by the potentially broad impact of their offensive against Mr. Romney and Bain. But "the consequences of this are serious," says Republican consultant Frank Luntz, as "seeds" planted now could lead to a GOP "disaster" in November.

Consider the damage if Mr. Romney, whom at least a plurality of Republicans regard as their most electable candidate, ultimately lost the nomination because of Bain. The party, left with a nominee whom Mr. Romney had beaten twice, would be angrily split, its enthusiasm gone. Or consider if Mr. Romney is nominated but is weakened by the Bain attacks. That's more likely, and it too would be divisive.

Mr. Romney bears some of the blame for the awkward situation. Candidates for president normally build their campaigns on a big idea. Mr. Gingrich's is that he would crush Mr. Obama in debates and win the election. Mr. Perry's is that he would extend the economic success of Texas to the entire nation. Mr. Romney's is himself, the man whose skill at economic revival was on display at Bain. This is an invitation to attacks.

What Mr. Romney needs is a bigger idea to deflect attention from Bain. He's treated the economy as susceptible to his personal care. That's insufficient. A bold plan for economic growth, especially a controversial plan with sweeping tax reform, might work. But if not that, then at least do something that dwarfs Bain—and do it soon.

Mr. Barnes is executive editor of the Weekly Standard and a commentator on Fox News Channel.

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« Reply #1228 on: January 13, 2012, 08:22:34 AM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/203941-romney-to-slam-foes-on-immigration-in-south-carolina


Romney to hammer Gingrich, Perry on immigration in SC
By Cameron Joseph - 01/13/12 06:00 AM ET

Mitt Romney plans to hammer Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry on immigration in a bid to win over conservative voters in South Carolina, where the GOP front-runner has a narrow lead in polls.

Romney intends to highlight his credentials as a firm opponent of illegal immigration in an appearance Monday with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who co-authored Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Appeals on immigration could be a winning formula in South Carolina, where the Legislature earlier this year passed a strict anti-illegal immigration law modeled on Arizona’s measure, which the Justice Department has sought to block.

The Hispanic population of South Carolina has ballooned in the last decade, growing 148 percent since 2000. Latinos now account for more than 5 percent of the state’s population.


It could also prove a potent attack on Gingrich and Perry, who could be vulnerable to charges, potent in a race for conservative votes, that they are soft on stopping illegal immigration.

Both Perry and Gingrich, who are vying to keep their campaigns alive with strong showings in South Carolina, have come out against deporting every immigrant who entered the country without authorization.

Perry also signed into Texas law a bill that allowed in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants living in the state, for which Romney has attacked him. Perry took a lot of heat on the issue after arguing in a debate that those who disagreed with his policy didn’t “have a heart.”
 


“Mitt Romney stands apart from the others. He’s the only one who’s taken a strong across-the-board position on immigration,” Kobach told The Hill in an interview.

“Gingrich and Perry, with their pro-amnesty positions, are not acceptable on their issues to me or the vast majority of Republicans.”
 


Kobach also criticized Rick Santorum, another GOP candidate trying to win over conservatives, for voting in 1996 against a pilot program that turned into E-Verify, the national system which helps employers check the immigration status of their employees. But he did praise Santorum for more recently voicing support for the program.
 


“All of the other candidates stand to the left of Romney on immigration,” Kobach said. “This is an issue that people with weak backbones sometimes have trouble taking a position on, and Mitt Romney has shown some real backbone on this issue.”

There are some risks for Romney.

Democrats are already pointing to problems he could have with Hispanic voters in the general election, and the Democratic National Committee pounced on Kobach’s endorsement of Romney.

Romney is not the only candidate drawing attention to the issue. Santorum on Thursday announced the backing of Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), another anti-immigration hard-liner.
 


“I am honored to receive Lou's endorsement today,” Santorum said in a statement.

“Lou has been a national leader on fighting illegal immigration and has been a fighter for the people of northeastern Pennsylvania in Congress.”
 


GOP strategist Dave Woodard said emphasizing the issue of immigration could help Romney in South Carolina.

The Justice Department stepped in to block South Carolina’s law in late December, angering many in the state and drawing widespread press coverage.
 


“It’s one of those latent issues. We’ve had a run-in with the Obama administration on this and a candidate could bring it up in his stump speech … and bang, you just inflamed the thing,” said Woodard, also a professor at Clemson.

“The federal government telling us what to do is always a big issue down here.”
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« Reply #1229 on: January 13, 2012, 08:26:11 AM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/203963-no-joke-stephen-colbert-exploring-a-presidential-run

No joke? Stephen Colbert exploring a presidential run
By Jamie Klatell - 01/12/12 09:26 PM ET

Comedian Stephen Colbert is giving up control of his super PAC and forming an exploratory committee for a presidential run.

Colbert made his announcement at Thursday night's taping of his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

"I'm proud to announce I plan to form an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my candidacy in the United States of South Carolina," Colbert said.

To satisfy election laws, fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart will take control of Colbert's super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Colbert has used the group to needle the GOP establishment in South Carolina, even offering to buy naming rights for the state's presidential primary.

Although he will not be on the ballot in South Carolina, Colbert said that he would succeed in the Republican field because he is not current front-runner Mitt Romney.

"Clearly my fellow South Caroliniacs see me as the only Mitternative," Colbert said.

A PPP poll released Tuesday found that Colbert drew 5 percent support in South Carolina. That put him 22 points behind Romney, but ahead of Jon Huntsman.   cheesy cheesy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1230 on: January 13, 2012, 08:49:24 AM »

BD: 

I have heard Newt speak at length on his illegal immigration policies.  I think he is going to be able to counter Mitt quite nicely on this.  Bottom line, he has a solid list of anti-illegal immigration policies, which are sweetened by something which will leave him eligible to go after the Latino vote.

IMHO on this issue Romney has demogogued Newt a bit (possibly a factor in the rancor obviously felt by Newt) in his "say anything, change any position" nature to win the nomination-- but he may come to regret not having Newt's more nuanced position come election time in states with big Latino vote.
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« Reply #1231 on: January 13, 2012, 09:16:42 AM »

Columbia, S.C.

Newt's a battering ram who'll wind up in splinters, but he can do plenty of damage along the way. The candidate people immediately speak of here when talk turns to the GOP primary is a man named Romneybut. "I like Romney but I could change my mind." "I like Romney but I like Santorum too." People take a kind of chagrined pride in the state's past reputation for crazed, malice-laden, bare-knuckle political brawling; they look away and laugh if you speak of Lee Atwater's old charge that a Democratic candidate had a "psychotic neurosis" and received electroshock therapy "hooked up to jumper cables."

But that was two generations ago, the old world. South Carolina's modern now, fully wired, demographically on the move. They still open up the first meeting of the statehouse GOP caucus with unifying prayer—"My wife's being operated on at 2 p.m. today, I'd ask you to pray that the Lord guide the surgeon's hands," "Bob Smith died in a car accident last weekend, please pray for his family"—but some people are looking down not only with reverence. They're also checking their BlackBerrys.

No one knows what's going to happen, because South Carolina takes pride in being prickly. They have a 30-year history of picking presidents, and nobody tells them who to pick. "New Hampshire thinks it's independent? Our great-great-great-great-grandfathers fired on the flag!" That's state GOP chairman Chad Connelly, sunny and garrulous. He's building up excitement and running out of breath doing it. "This thing is wide open. It's a battle royal. People are undecided. The debates will be decisive. South Carolina is the focal point of the world the next 10 days!" It is a great talent in life to spin relentlessly and not at all alienate the spinee.

All that said, if Mitt Romney wins here, he will win the nomination. And it's likely he will win here—that Romneybut will become Romney. But it's a real question how much damage will be done to him along the way.

***
People don't embrace Mr. Romney, they circle back to him. They consider him, shop around for something better, decide the first product they looked at will last longest and give value, and buy.

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The front-runner and Palmetto State voters on Thursday.
.The non-Mitt candidates continue, fracturing the conservative vote. Because no one dropped out after New Hampshire, no consolidation of the non-Mitt vote can begin here and get in the way of the buying. Newt Gingrich, tops in state polls a few weeks ago, has damaged himself by the means and manner of his campaign. Rick Santorum will have appeal, but he's voted against right-to-work legislation, and South Carolina is a big right-to-work state. Ron Paul will have appeal too, not only in the coastal cities but among active and retired military personnel, who've been fighting the wars the past 10 years.

Mr. Romney has the support of Gov. Nikki Haley, 39, an Indian-American who rose with the Tea Party and won after receiving Sarah Palin's endorsement. She backed him early, to signal to her supporters that it was OK. In an interview this week, she said the issues are "jobs, spending and the economy. Everyone in South Carolina knows somebody who's out of work." State unemployment is 9.9%, higher than the national average. "I've killed myself to bring jobs here. I need a president I can work with." "I don't want anyone tied to Washington. I have a great respect for business people to create jobs and make tough decisions. . . . Romney can do that."

Mr. Romney has a national organization that he can plug in locally, and money. And now momentum, which will prove crucial.

The chief argument here for Mr. Romney has been that he is electable, the most rightward viable candidate. That was powerfully reinforced by his victory in New Hampshire. "If he has a 25% ceiling, how come he just won with 39%?" His victory speech, more like an acceptance speech, was powerful: he finally brought all the strands together. This is what my candidacy means, this is what I'll do. That speech will have positive reverberations.

***
South Carolina continues to evolve. Retirees from the North increasingly populate the coastal towns and cities. They are economic conservatives, sympathetic to business. The top of the state, the Greenville/Spartanburg area is heavily Christian conservative, but less so. "It was the knot on the Bible Belt, now it's the knot on the fiscal belt," says a Romney backer. International companies, and their networks of suppliers, have had an impact.

The evangelical vote is split, and the economic calamity of the last four years has, in a way, become a values issue itself. Efforts to help the poor and the unborn, to have and raise children, to keep families together, are not made easier by a stressed economy. Social and economic issues are blending.

This is what you pick up about Mr. Romney in South Carolina: He is presentable, electable and a businessman. He knows what a spreadsheet is. He made money. He can help set up the circumstances where everyone else makes money too. And he is a conservative. He has the vibrations of a Massachusetts moderate—Newt isn't wrong about that—because he was a Massachusetts moderate. But now he holds conservative positions. He's not going to change them again, because you get only one chance to change in politics, not two. He is, therefore, perversely reliable. He's not going to get into the White House and announce: "By the way, I'm pro-choice again, ha."

***
The factor the media expected to hurt Romney—evangelicals will, en masse, reject the Mormon—isn't likely. Part of the reason is the big blend: Bias feels like self-indulgence in a time of crisis. What could hurt him, what actually promises to, is the Bain Capital attacks, the half hour minidocumentary and the commercials derived from its message. The documentary is first-rate agitprop: Mr. Romney has a nice smile but in real life he's a pious, new-class operator who swoops in, buys companies, breaks them up, lines his pockets, and calls it freedom. Might this gain traction in a high-unemployment state with a long populist tradition? I think so. You should see the faces of the people who talk about being laid off.

It's not clear whether Mr. Gingrich will air the documentary in South Carolina. If he does, he's going for broke.

Those who run the Romney campaign would be fools not to answer it, quickly and substantively, not only with a defense of free enterprise but with a defense of Bain. Are claims in the ad not true? Say it. Is there a case that more jobs were created by Bain than lost? Make it—with workers in front of workplaces that now exist because Bain existed.

A full-throated, detailed defense of Bain that is also a defense of economic freedom and free markets might not only benefit Mr. Romney. It just might help valorize, or rather revalorize, the reputation of capitalism, which has taken a beating the past few years and not recovered. That, actually, might be a public service.

The Obama campaign wanted to launch its Bain attack in the fall. Mr. Romney can face the attack now, head on, and begin not inoculating himself from the issue but exhausting it.

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« Reply #1232 on: January 13, 2012, 10:37:35 AM »

The Vermin video and the Colbert candidacy remind me of a book I recently found by Pat Paulsen outlining his non-run for the Presidency in 1968.  Time permitting I would love to pull out passages from that book and from Obama 2008 speeches and see if the discerning reader can tell which is which.

I don't follow the comedians because I don't watch cable, but it seems that their theme to the politicians is just to stop acting like idiots.  Colbert should run in the Dem primaries on a platform of common sense liberalism (he must think there is such a thing) and just see where it goes.
--------------
I made a prediction in 2009 that Pres. Obama will not be the nominee of his own party.  I have gone silent on that lately because nothing is gained for either party or the country if he should drop out so late that only one person (Sec. of State) would be in a position to pick up the pieces.
--------------
I agree that immigration issues will flair up in SC and that Newt can hold his own.  Romney knows that what is said to win SC will stay with him nationally in the general election.  I hope he handles it well; it is a very difficult and divisive issue.  It would be nice if someone would remind them they are on the same team and should at least appear to be pushing for a solution over a political gain.  The Boeing dispute illustrates that there are plenty of other labor issues to address.

If Romney wins SC while leading in FL by 20 points, it is over.  Romney can lose SC respectably and still win the nomination.  The candidates who act desperate soon leave the race.
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bigdog
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« Reply #1233 on: January 13, 2012, 05:31:12 PM »

... when they are inconvenient for him.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/01/judge-rejects-perrys-va-ballot-suit-110781.html
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« Reply #1234 on: January 14, 2012, 11:10:42 AM »

My reaction to the Perry suit was roughly the same; he was not the guy you expected to come from far away and sue a state.  If he thought he would ever be the candidate, he should have left that distinction for criticizing the President in the Obama administration v. Arizona.

That said, this law did not help Virginians who would be better off with more choices and I've never heard of banning write-in campaigns.

If there is a federal argument I don't know what it is. It is a state contest, though part of a national election.  Given the unpredictability of federal courts in their rulings, such as the mixed results in the Obamacare rulings, people will always be tempted to try their luck.
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« Reply #1235 on: January 14, 2012, 11:30:22 AM »

Perry, Newt, et al have been left looking incompetent and unprincipled in all this.

BTW I caught yesterday somewhere that it appears that once fraudulent signatures were weeded out that His Glibness did not have enough signatures to quality in 2008 for , , , Indiana i think it was.
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bigdog
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« Reply #1236 on: January 16, 2012, 04:56:42 AM »

Reports are that Huntsman is dropping out and endorsing Mitt.
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« Reply #1237 on: January 16, 2012, 09:17:08 AM »

Reports are that Huntsman is dropping out and endorsing Mitt.

All six of his supporters will be very disappointed.
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« Reply #1238 on: January 16, 2012, 09:28:37 AM »

"All six of his supporters will be very disappointed."

Did you see him after the NH primary.  Standing behind him on one side was his blond daughter and on the other the brunette.  I thought I was watching a cheap reality show.

In any case, his message that "Americans are sick and tired of the partisan bickering" was a total bomb.

No I am not sick of bickering.  What I am sick of IS compromise - get it?
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« Reply #1239 on: January 17, 2012, 01:13:33 AM »

That was a lively debate tonight!

Comments?
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ccp
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« Reply #1240 on: January 17, 2012, 12:42:38 PM »

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/who-won-the-debate-dick-morris-tv-lunch-alert-8/
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bigdog
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« Reply #1241 on: January 17, 2012, 03:50:05 PM »

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/15/andrew-sullivan-how-obama-s-long-game-will-outsmart-his-critics.html

Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he's a wimp. Andrew Sullivan on how the president may just end up outsmarting them all.
by Andrew Sullivan  | January 16, 2012 12:00 AM EST
You hear it everywhere. Democrats are disappointed in the president. Independents have soured even more. Republicans have worked themselves up into an apocalyptic fervor. And, yes, this is not exactly unusual.

A president in the last year of his first term will always get attacked mercilessly by his partisan opponents, and also, often, by the feistier members of his base. And when unemployment is at remarkably high levels, and with the national debt setting records, the criticism will—and should be—even fiercer. But this time, with this president, something different has happened. It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama from the enraged right and the demoralized left. It’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong.

A caveat: I write this as an unabashed supporter of Obama from early 2007 on. I did so not as a liberal, but as a conservative-minded independent appalled by the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture. I did not expect, or want, a messiah. I have one already, thank you very much. And there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made—to drop the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, to ignore the war crimes of the recent past, and to launch a war in Libya without Congress’s sanction, to cite three. But given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.

Gallery: Obama's Promises


See more at the link above.  It is a pretty interesting read, in my opinion. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1242 on: January 17, 2012, 05:51:00 PM »

It IS an interesting read.  AS is not stupid and to deconstruct it would take more time and effort than I am inclined to invest while I am on the road, but I agree-- it is worth the time.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1243 on: January 18, 2012, 12:06:00 AM »

The right, the left and the center all have it wrong and he is right.  He is just looking at the actual record. Everyone else is spin.  (The emoticon I am looking for isn't in the choices.)  "...the American people will come to see his first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started."  - The coyote follows the roadrunner - off the cliff

"Mitt Romney accuses the president of making the recession worse, of wanting to turn America into a European welfare state, of not believing in opportunity or free enterprise, of having no understanding of the real economy, and of apologizing for America and appeasing our enemies. According to Romney, Obama is a mortal threat to “the soul” of America and an empty suit who couldn’t run a business, let alone a country.

  - That made more sense to me than the rest of the piece.  BTW, a google search of 'romney calls obama empty suit' only points to critics calling Romney that.  And what business did Obama run?

"Leave aside the internal incoherence—how could such an incompetent be a threat to anyone?"  -  That is incoherent.  IF he is in over his head, he IS a threat. If his Presidency isn't economic damage, it certainly is a 4 year delay on the solution.

"When Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s, there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system, and unemployment and debt—lagging indicators—were about to soar even further. No fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the next 12 months, as the financial crisis cut a swath through employment. Economies take time to shift course."

  - Broken record here, but am I really the only person in America that remembers that the Democrats took control of Washington 6 years ago this November, not 4.

"But Obama did several things at once: he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion."

  - It was NOT a stimulus.  There is no evidence of that.  He admitted they were not shovel ready jobs.  They were chosen instead for targeting key constituencies.  He passed up true shovel ready jobs like the Keystone pipeline.

"The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s far better than what Romney would have you believe, and more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. "

  - Intentional deception or a lie, you make the call.  He compares only the slow growth stretch ofObama, ignores the first year because those are runners left on base by Bush (actually Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Hillary-Biden and Bush, a ruling coalition).  Then he compares that with the "net jobs" of Bush, defined to combine the 52 months of solid growth under Bush policies with the recession left to him and with the asset collapse that came with Pelosi-Reid-Obama power handoff of Nov 2006/Jan2007.  Take a look at this unemployment chart and see if "net jobs" under Bush is a good way to summarize what happened in those 8 years:

2003 is where the Bush plan kicked in.  The lowest point in unemployment is where power switched back.  The full asset collapse occurs in Sept 2008 when the reality hits the markets that the tax cuts will be allowed to expire.  A change of that Democratic promise in early 2008, when China was lowering their business tax rates, would have removed the urgency of the asset collapse that occurred later that year that prevented Obama from becoming a great President.  But NO!

"Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) "

  - The growth rate at this point in the Reagan administration was 7.75% sustained and he won 49 states.  Does he really see some similarity there or think we are stupid with a one measure comparison.  Yes, Reagan never slashed domestic spending; he had a Dem House for all 8 years.  But we had a surging economy and surging government revenues very unlike now.

"the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do. It put a bottom under the free fall. It is not an exaggeration to say it prevented a spiral downward that could have led to the Second Great Depression."

  - Not spin, just actual results, but in a 4 internet page article there was no  room to back that up with anything? Maybe in a follow up piece (Newsweek February?) he will document how very Obama-like policies led to the original Great Depression (actual results) and how Reagan-like policies led to a quarter century of growth.

"You’d think, listening to the Republican debates, that Obama has raised taxes. Again, this is not true."

  - I will make this point until someone hears it.  The do not tax you to put money into an investment.  They tax you later to take the return on that investment out.  The tax rate that counts in job creating economy growth policies is the FUTURE MARGINAL TAX RATE.  This President has managed to keep a tax rate increase impending perpetually.  He has it coming back every 2 years so he gets none of the revenue enhancement of actual income taxed at the higher rate and all of the job killing economic carnage that increasing disincentives cause.  I ask: what could be more incompetent and Sullivan says brilliant - what a long term thinker!

"Not only did he agree not to sunset the Bush tax cuts for his entire first term,"

  - He extended the Bush tax cuts AFTER the damage was done and scheduled another growth killing tax hike in just 2 more years.  Christina Romer wrote a paper on the job killing effect of these policies.  Read it.

"he has aggressively lowered taxes on most Americans. A third of the stimulus was tax cuts, affecting 95 percent of taxpayers; he has cut the payroll tax..."

  - Not all tax cuts are created equal.  Marginal rates were not cut and the lower 95% tend to be the ones who don't hire.  More money out of nowhere in their pocket is Keynesian, not supply side.  If it were paid for, it would mean less money in someone else's pocket.  It is not paid for so it just means every other dollar is worth less, with interest accruing to eternity.  Interest paid to China alone by the end of Obama's second term will surpass all of China's military budget.  What could possibly go wrong with that?

"His spending record is also far better than his predecessor’s. Under Bush, new policies on taxes and spending cost the taxpayer a total of $5.07 trillion. Under Obama’s budgets both past and projected, he will have added $1.4 trillion in two terms."

  - Obama kept ALL of the overspending of the last decade and added onto it.  Sullivan of course blends in "temporary", "emergency" spending that was the consensus policy of Bush-Obama-McCain, all on board, makes it permanent then adds onto it to the tune of trillions not counting the admitted underestimates of Obamacare and host of other new programs coming.

"On foreign policy, the right-wing critiques have been the most unhinged. Romney accuses the president of apologizing for America, and others all but accuse him of treason and appeasement. Instead, Obama reversed Bush’s policy of ignoring Osama bin Laden..."

  - Really?  Obama's policies led to that find?  Not that I read. Maybe it is in Newsweek March 2012 edition, lol.

"immediately setting a course that eventually led to his capture and death."

  - I credit the President for making the right decision - after sitting on the question 16 hours while bin Laden could have been tipped off of the danger and fled the scene.  The President was cool; he was calm.  In this case he was able to golf and capture OBL all at the same time - hold my calls please.  There is a remote chance however that the campaign could overplay this one accomplishment that seems to be their answer for almost everything!
---------------
In my anecdotal real world today, two African American nurses working inner city home health care expressed a genuine interest in Republican economics and my furnace guy was all excited about the Republican debate last night, pointing out the exact same Newt quote that Crafty linked for us earlier today - all without knowing my view.  The polls say people are thinking more like 2010 than 2006 or 2008 for this year.  Assuming Andrew Sullivan is a very smart guy and I don't know that, he wrote this piece to be provocative more than to present a serious state of the race IMHO.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1244 on: January 18, 2012, 01:37:37 AM »

Nice work  grin

BTW, with regard to the data of the early Reagan years, I would add that

a) Volcker at the Fed, taking advice from the Dems who said the tax rate cuts would be inflationary (i.e. if people spend the money they make it causes inflation, but if the government does, it doesn't) stopped on the money brakes

b) The Reagan rate cuts were phased in over three years.  This causes many businesses to defer taking profits, invest, etc until the rates had bottomed.  In the January of the first year where the cuts were fully phased in Milton Friedman, using monetary criteria predicted poor growth.  Jude Wanniski and the rest of the supply side school predicted outstanding growth.  When the data came in, that quarter was 10%!  Game, set, match-- the Laffer Curve won.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #1245 on: January 18, 2012, 09:40:34 AM »

The question for each voter will boil down to something like this in November:

Are you better off now than you than you were five trillion dollars ago?
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G M
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« Reply #1246 on: January 18, 2012, 09:47:22 AM »

Very good work, Doug.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1247 on: January 18, 2012, 10:40:57 AM »

"Are you better off now than you than you were five trillion dollars ago?"

If the future Republican nominee is amongst our readers, I hope he is taking notes!
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ccp
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« Reply #1248 on: January 18, 2012, 11:17:03 AM »

This AM I was really dismayed at how Romney handled the msm gotcha thing with his taxes.

This would have been the perfect time for him to  agree that we need tax total *reform* like a flat tax (which he doesn't seem to promote.)

He is playing right into the hands of the *left's* talking points.  As noted he sounds "flat footed".

I only wish Newt had a better temperment.  A real genius with a gift for gab (perhaps without some bluster) would have been a lot better than a technocratic bland detail man who memorizes lists of lines and answers.

I know I sound depressing but I just can't see the sun arising over the horizon that Reagan spoke about.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1249 on: January 18, 2012, 11:43:03 AM »

I fear that just like George "Passionate Conservatism" Bush, Mitt suffers from what I call "patrician's guilt" and that therefor he will have a strong tendency to crumble and crump under class warfare and race-baiting from the progressives-Dems.
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